You’re not as dirty as you think
Daily showers are best for people with physically demanding jobs, those who live in hot, humid climates, or people prone to sweating. But if you don’t sweat that often, you could probably go two to three days without stepping into the shower, dermatologist Monika G. Kiripolsky, MD, told Men’s Health.
It’s making your skin itchy, red, and dry
Your skin, the body’s largest organ, serves a critical immune function as your body’s protective barrier. Showering too often, especially during cold, dry winter months, weakens this barrier and makes your skin more vulnerable to irritation. “The soap and the hot water dissolve the lipids in the skin and scrubbing only hastens the process. The more showers you take, the more frequently this damage takes place and the less time your skin has to repair itself through natural oil production,” according to HowStuffWorks.com. And that tight, after-shower feeling you get? It’s not a sign of cleanliness, Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, told Today.com. “It means your skin is too dry.”
Towel drying also takes a toll on your skin
Drying off with a towel can further aggravate your delicate birthday suit. It’s best to air dry, according to HowStuffWorks.com, but if that takes too long or you don’t like leaving wet footprints all over the house, use a soft towel and gently pat your skin dry instead of vigorously rubbing it.
You only really need to wash your smelly parts
If the thought of showering every other day or a few times a week makes your skin crawl, consider a mini cleanse. Rub your chest, armpits, and genitals with a washcloth and a mild cleaner, Men’s Health advises.
Here is something else to think about: How to Go 5 Days Without Washing Your Hair.
Showering gets rid of good bacteria
Right now, your skin is teeming with good bacteria, but showering launches these microbes into the air. They’ll repopulate, but there’s no good reason to get rid of them on a daily basis, according to a post on PLOS.org.
You’re making your hair frizzy
Fine hair can withstand daily washing, but those with thick, dry, curly, or textured hair may be prone to breaking and frizz if you lather up too often. “Shampoo traps oils, so if you do it too frequently, you may dry your hair out, leaving it prone to breakage,” Angela Lamb, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told WebMD.
“For a lot of hair textures, the cleaner it is, the more unruly it is,” Michael Forrey, creative director of Sassoon Salon in New York City, told Women’s Health. Frequent shampooing can also dull your hair color if you dye.
According to WebMD, only a small group needs to shampoo daily, like those with very fine hair, someone who exercises a lot (and sweats), or someone living in very humid place.
You’ll save on water consumption
Showers are typically the third largest water guzzler in the average home (after toilets and clothes washers). The average Canadian uses 329 litres per day, just at home, according to McGill University. Cut back to three or four showers a week from seven (per person in your home!) and that could make a decent dent in your water bill.
Want to further cut down on your water consumption and yet still look presentable? Learn 5 Ways to Conserve Water, According to David Suzuki.
Originally published as 7 Reasons You Can Probably Get Away With Showering Less on ReadersDigest.com.